Bunny’s Things Of The Year For Us To Disagree About…



“I’m sooo sad. I don’t even think I can go to Spencer’s party…” Frisky and Mannish

So, 2012. What were the really neat things that were cause for a reel around the kitchen with my shirt off with the windows open while cooking up something spicy on a hot day? Well… I went to New York. Twice. (Thanks to Michael. Shout outs to Sam and to Koos.) I went to the Olympics (thanks, Mike). I turned 40. I got a bit depressed. (Sorry to M, M, I, J and J – all of whom put up with me when I have been mean.) Some friends of mine had kids. The Queen celebrated something. Blah blah blee blee bloo bloo. Who cares about all of that? What was I WEARING?
ARGUABLY THE BEST T-SHIRT OF 2012: well, the Perfume Genius super-cute, curious-looking cat pic was pretty much a shoo-in until I got a Lovely Eggs T-shirt featuring a picture of Holly and David standing in a bin. I’ll just repeat that in screaming caps: STANDING IN A BIN. Best. Band. T-Shirt. Ever. (This week.)
ARGUABLY BEST BOOK I READ IN 2012: When I Was Five I Killed Myself by Howard Buten. Don’t be put off by the title (as I was, for ages). This is so funny and truthful and I was a wreck towards the end of it. (Thanks, Andrew, for the recommend!)
ARGUABLY BEST GIGS OF 2012: Chain and the Gang and Trash Kit on the same bill at Kraak, Frisky and Mannish at the Lowry made me feel weirdly like I was celebrating my birthday six months after it had happened and every Lovely Eggs gig that happened anywhere in the country was undoubtedly the best for everyone that saw it. *air punch*
ARGUABLY MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2013: It’s a Manchester International Festival year so let’s hope that’s good (again), I’ve got Ian Svenonius’s new book on pre-order (YES!)… and Trash Kit are back, back, BACK… *explodes leaving a pair of smoking, Mallard-green Underground creepers and a cloud of purple glitter*

1. Octan Hudson Mohawke
2. Telescope (Submerse Remix) Yoshino Yoshikawa feat. Karin
3. Bacon Pancakes Song (Gunter the Evil Penguin Remix) Jake the Dog
4. Katy On A Mission (Captain Planet Remix) Katy B
5. A La Modeliste (Bonobo Remix) Zigaboo Modeliste feat. Erykah Badu, Mos Def, Mark Ronson, Trombone Shorty and members of The Dap Kings
6. A Thing Like This Friends
7. Daylight Sky Frankie Rose
8. Crystalized Melody’s Echo Chamber
9. Dies in 55 Trailer Trash Tracys
10. Got To Let Go Charlotte Gainsbourg
11. Bad Religion Frank Ocean
12. Hood Perfume Genius
13. How Are You?? Soko
14. Made In Chelsea 1 Frisky and Mannish
15. If I Only Had A Brain Chain and The Gang
16. Do You Remember Being a Roller? Hunx
17. Number 10 Giuda
18. Purple Rain Big Daddy
19. Watermelons The Lovely Eggs
20. I Don’t Know What To Do (Fabian Remix, Magic Edit) The Magician feat. Jeppe
21. You Can’t Run From My Love Munk feat. Peaches
22. Put Your Collar Up Magic Arm
23. Sunshine Shonen Knife
24. Colours Ashley Eriksson

[1. Octan Hudson Mohawke] It’s weird now I’ve been doing these mixtapes for a few years now and there’s beginning to be a little bit of a narrative. Who knew that HudMo (who made his first appeared in a Things… To Disagree About in 2009) would end up working with Kanye and that last year’s pop crush The Death Set would end up flogging Google’s Chromebook.

[2. Telescope (Submerse Remix) Yoshino Yoshikawa feat. Karin] Runcorn to Tokyo! Submerse is this year’s HudMo. I’m sure he’ll be doing something incredible in two years. He’s, like, 24 and he’s created a whole new genre of music – J-Garage – by putting loops of speeded up J-Pop over British 2-step beats. Sounds a bit rubbish when I read it but, when I hear it, I feel like I’ve got sunshine coming out of my eyes. I have to wear sunglasses to stop other people getting burnt.

[3. Bacon Pancakes Song (Gunter the Evil Penguin Remix) Jake the Dog] This is 1 of only 2 Adventure Time-themed tracks included here. If you hate housey-housey music then count yourselves double dog lucky that I didn’t pick Ancient Tandem Psychic War Elephant by Cold Blank (YouTube it, Adventure Time fans – by which I mean everyone). For anyone still watching boring live action shows about cop procedurals and would-be terrorists, there’s this wonderfully imaginative show on Cartoon Network from which some people take bits of dialogue and mix them into songs. One of my favourite things about this mix (apart from the way everything just looks a little brighter to me when I hear those opening piano chords) is one of the comments on this video on YouTube. Stabz McGee says, “I am aÒ 65 year old man. This is the best thing I have heard in my life.” (A 65-year-old man called “Stabz” who loves Adventure Time? He sounds ber-rilliant!) One last thing before I get off the subject but how bad can a show be when one of the characters speaks as though he is reading out the sleeve notes from a lost Frankie Goes To Hollywood record? The old Royal Tart Toter says, “This cosmic dance of bursting decadence and withheld permissions twists all our arms collectively but, if sweetness can win – and it can – then I will still be here tomorrow to high five you yesterday my friend. Peace.” *swoons with joy*

[4. Katy On A Mission (Captain Planet Remix) Katy B] I’m not too proud to admit that I was way late in boarding the Katy B train. I was probably sitting in a “value” café listening to Kreayshawn when it left. The great thing about this remix is that it’s just as good as the original yet completely different. I love the words though. They are evocative and clever.

[5. A La Modeliste (Bonobo Remix) Zigaboo Modeliste feat. Erykah Badu, Mos Def, Mark Ronson, Trombone Shorty and members of The Dap Kings] Another year, another Erykah Badu song. She’s been all over the place lately. I can leave her Rocket Juice and the Moon and The Flaming Lips hook ups but I will very much take her work with Robert Gasper as well as this song – which you can download free, completely legally, thanks to a car manufacturer. Altogether now, “Yo’ mama don’t wear no drawers-uh, we was there when she took ‘em off-uh…” – that’s my gurl right there!

[6. A Thing Like This Friends] Friends is a great, droll name for a band from Brooklyn. How vexing that I was in New York when they were in Manchester. Thanks, “Friends”.

[7. Daylight Sky Frankie Rose] Also from Brooklyn, a former Dum Dum and Vivian Girl, signed to Slumberland Records. Do I have to say more? If Frank Ocean was Summer and The Lovely Eggs were Autumn and Winter then Frankie was Spring. I was so excited to see her at the two greatest music venues in the World – The Deaf Institute and The Brudenell Social Club. At Leeds I got a song dedicated to me (I don’t care if that sounds like bragging, Frankie is the Queen of Indie and I got knighted) and learnt a new and oh-so-useful word – hangry. You can work it out.

[8. Crystalized Melody’s Echo Chamber] Melody Prochet is the girlfriend of Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker (a former star of Things… To Disagree About, playing a second-best Gig of the Year back in 2009 – pipped to the post by The xx supporting Micachu and the Shapes). Melody’s album basically sounds like Tame Impala but with a better singer.

[9. Dies in 55 Trailer Trash Tracys] Worst band name ever? Still like this, though, and enjoyed seeing them at an embryonic Kraak – no stage! Crap sound! Only one toilet! (It’s better now. Trust.) This is the now legendary (in my small book of legends) five-pounds-to-get-in-or-free-if-you-like-us-on-Face-Book night when me and Simon made the promoters’ jaws drop by saying we were happy to pay because, we’re not on FaceBook!

[10. Got To Let Go Charlotte Gainsbourg] I have a crush on Charlotte’s voice. It’s a strange mix of comforting and unsettling – like the dusty clag at the bottom of a cup of hot chocolate. I include this because I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like a bit of Charlotte sometimes. Heh.

[11. Bad Religion Frank Ocean] Honestly, I know y’all think I’m indier-than-thou but I am so not. It’s a really nice feeling to like something that is actually popular. It gives me hope. Makes me feel like I’m living in the right times. It hasn’t happened for a while, though. The last time was with the first Arctic Monkeys album and the second Amy Winehouse album… in 2006! I started to write something about Frank Ocean and ended up writing two and a half pages – so let me tell you in four words how and why I like him: the new Amy Winehouse. His (and her) lyrics deal with youthful drug-taking, ill-starred relationships, morality and mortality with a sense of irony, smart pop-culture references, a neat line in visceral images in relation to heart break and a humbling sense of perspective (being laughed at by the fates in Amy’s case, disappearing into the ocean in Frank’s). Sheesh, what a patoot! Pretentious much?

[12. Hood Perfume Genius] Here in 2010 and back again in 2012. Short and perfectly formed. The song is too. “I tick like a bomb…” [13. How Are You?? Soko] Like many good pop stars Soko sounds like a difficult person – sophisticated yet adolescent at the same time (those two teenage-angst-y question marks). But, also like a good pop star, she can express a universal truth with total originality. What a great idea to write a song about how difficult it is, sometimes, to answer the simple question, “How are you??” I love it when the music drops out, as though she is thinking about whether or not to answer honestly, and then she says, “I am fine.”

[14. Made In Chelsea 1 Frisky and Mannish] Every. Line. Of. This. Makes. Me. Laugh. So. So. Much. “Millie! Niii!” I want so much to include more Frisky and Mannish here but you’ll just have to go and see them. Their Lana del Ray spoof almost made me throw up with laughter.

[15. If I Only Had A Brain Chain and The Gang] Hey! It’s Things… to Disagree About regulars Chain and the Gang with their best album yet! I would start quoting the lyrics to this only I’d end up writing out the whole song. Their latest record In Cool Blood is steeped in drollery (from the title down) at the same time as being indefinably funky. To be so smart and make it look this spontaneous and fun is true genius.

[16. Do You Remember Being a Roller? Hunx] What’s this? Classic Brix-era The Fall? No, wait a minute! It’s Things… to Disagree about regular Hunx with his best album yet! How can anyone not love an album called Hairdresser Blues? Do I even need to say that it comes with a FREE COMB?! Hunx is an idol to me. I can’t even think of him without seeing something like gold cardboard stars through Top of the Pops starburst filters circa 1979 turning in my head. [Number 10 Giuda] It’s not what you think. They’re Italian and the singer’s black. The idea of being from a European style capital that isn’t exactly famous for it’s pubs and then wearing ugly clothes and playing pub rock is just so fun. The album finally gets released in the UK on Christmas Day-ish. On Damaged Goods. Have I sold it to you yet? (FYI: it’s pronounced ‘jew-da’.)

[17. Purple Rain Big Daddy] I am visualising my imaginary early-Prince-fan-club-membership-card burning as I confide to you that Purple Rain is one of my least favourite Prince songs. It’s certainly my least favourite song on that album. It’s probably all you need to know if I tell you my favourite part is when someone goes “Ow!” at 2’45. For ages I thought it would be amazing to make a documentary that tracked down the person who “Ow”s on Purple Rain until I realised (dur) that it’s probably just someone in the band. “Oh, boy!” Aside from being fantastically amusing, this cover only lasts two and a half minutes. So it’s short, sweet and never gets to the “Ow”.

[18. Watermelons The Lovely Eggs] So hard to choose one Eggs’ song! Many of them are so brilliantly funny while others are curiously profound and all are catchier than Fuzzy Felt. But I worry if I choose a funny song then you will think of them as a joke band. But they are not. They are simply. The. Band. Of. The. Year. The band of forever-now. I could happily watch them play live every night of the week. You just know during the first few seconds of this song that it is going to be mufftotally fuzztastic. Like a giggle bubbling up. Like falling without hurting yourself. The way you can hear the smile in the corners of Holly’s mouth. And, sorry, but… kazoo solo! KAZOO SOLO!!! I love them so hard that it almost goes to opposite of love and I feel like crying. I’m not even exaggerating!

[19. I Don’t Know What To Do (Fabian Remix, Magic Edit) The Magician feat. Jeppe]

[20. You Can’t Run From My Love Munk feat. Peaches] For goodness sake, I have to write less or the font size is going to be so small only ants will be able to read this. And so I’m conflating Peaches and Jeppe. It just wouldn’t be a mixtape from me without one or both of these artists. I don’t know anything about Munk or The Magician but what’s amazing is the huge, 80s-sounding voices that both Jeppe and Peaches have pulled out of their lungs lately! When Peaches starts singing it’s like a Finn punch to the solar plexus – boof!

[21. Put Your Collar Up Magic Arm] Lovely bedroom music from Manchester. Album out soon on Switchflicker!

[22. Sunshine Shonen Knife] The inclusion of this is my attempt to make up for the fact that I didn’t pay full attention to it when hearing them play it live this year. As soon as I got the new record I was, like, “Aw. That’s my favourite song on the album!” It’s not like I went for a wee during it, but I might have been thinking, “I hope they play Cookie Day!” *Looks down, bites lower lip, looks back up again*

[23. Colours Ashley Eriksson] Here’s your other Adventure-Time-themed song. Nothing to do with the show except Ashley sings the song that plays over closing credits. This is from her latest solo album on K Records – also home to Chain and the Gang. You should deffers take a look at their website! Just sayin’!

With love from Bunny aka the Pop Police – finding it impossible to choose favourites since 1972


The rules I set for myself when making my Things… To Disagree About compilations are, fairly obviously, only as many tracks as I can fit on one CD as AAC files in iTunes (this does mean some quality stuff gets left off). And the ‘sleeve notes’ have to fit on two sides of A4 and still be legible-ish. I try for 10 point font size and usually end up at about 8.5. I don’t make a rule that ALL the songs have to have been released in the corresponding year as, sometimes, songs get released at the end of the previous year and so only make it onto the next year’s compilation – but I do try and include as much new stuff as possible. The Lovely Eggs song was from 2010 but the reason for that was timing. I needed a short-ish song and my favourite songs off Wildlife are all a bit longer (e.g. Allergies) or just bonkers (i.e. Don’t Patent That Shoe). Much as I LOVE Don’t Patent That Shoe, I couldn’t help but think I might win more people over to the Egg-side with the more… ahem… conventional Watermelons.

Bunny is a kids’ TV writer who has produced scrips for shows ranging from Octonauts and Rastamouse to House of Anubis and a brief stint on the briefly reanimated Crossroads where his references to Daphne and Celeste were not appreciated. His favourite TV show ever is The Marvellous Misadventures of Flapjack. He also loves jelly sweets, LEGO, Harris Tweed and rolling around on the floor and calling it dancing.


Manchester Music with Matthew Duffy

Matthew DuffyFrom the kickstart of punk rock to the dizzy heights of acid house and all that exists inbetween, Manchester has been the UK’s pioneering city for musical innovation. Finding unlikely inspiriation in the post industrial gloom, songwriters, musicians, DJs and artists flourish in the city’s eclectic multicultural party-loving creative hub.

However, at least twenty years since producing a decent band or even a decent song, Manchester now desperately clutches to its past glories hopelessly denying the city’s return to the soulless wasteland it was in the 70s with almost all of its cultural landmarks bought up and converted into shoddy Urban Splash pads or Poundstretchers. One of the most historically important cities in the modern world is now culturally cold, crowded, loud and littered with lost expectations, Costa coffee cups and suspiciously looking human excretia.

As a stereotypical raincoat Mancunian I am going to take you on a sulky wander round the living musical museum of this city stopping off at the most significant spots to get mugged. So whether you want to terrorise Terry Christian by posting offal through his letterbox every night, or run your key down the side of Mick Hucknall’s car or just rifle through Peter Hooks wheelie bin, The Lost Ruined Guide To Manchester Music Tour is an essential part of any visit to the city.

Prestwich: Starting on the northside of the city, Prestwich is the longtime stomping ground of Fall frontman Mark E Smith. One of the more innovative songwriters of the post punk era, Sid James look-a-like Smith wrote and sang all the Fall’s songs using only vowels and performed all the live shows entirely in burp. Keep you eyes peeled as the toothless elderly yob can often be seen scurrying through the overspilling bins on Bury Old Road. And no serious music fan would want to miss out on the opportunity of being glassed by one of rock’s most prolific arseholes.

Collyhurst: While touring the US in the early 80s Granada TV star and entrepreneur Bernard Manning stumbled upon a Detroit house club. Entranced by the pulsating techno beat and immediately realising the potential audience Manning brought the new sound back home with him and opened the Embassy Club and the rest is as they say history. By the end of the decade Harpurhey had become the unlikely epicentre of a flourishing dance scene. World renowned DJs and racist work men club comedians flocked to perform for the flat-capped, gurning crowds downing Best bitter and Mandies and dancing for days on end. Although Manning died in 2007 the Embassy Club still stands with the proud portrait of his fat racist fucking face above the door. The club made household names of DJs such as Mike Pickering, Paul Oakenfold, James Stanions and Umberto.

Salford: Manchester’s tough cousin and Ewan McColl’s ‘Dirty Old Town’, Salford’s artistic influence has a traditionally darker edge. From the blocked kitchen sing of Sheila Delaney to the artless stolen-car-hardcore of Bowlers, their refreshing no nonsense attitude is the Salford brand. Just across the Irwell from the city is the iconic Salford Lads Club immortalised by photographer Stephen Wright  for the cover of Bill Tarmy’s ill-advised soul album ‘Jack Duckworth is Dead.’ Salford’s most famous sons were ‘Madchester’ heroes the Happy Mondays. Professional crackpot Shaun Ryder and his imaginary friend Bez were at the forefront of the dance / indie crossover marrying the paranoid migraine of acid house with the cidertinged B.O. of rock. Their reputation preceeded them and there are many Monday’s landmarks around the city particularly Oldham Street’s Dry Bar where Shaun Ryder fired a gun at band and Hacienda manager Anthony H. Wilson somehow missing his hugely swollen and over-inflated head.

The bard of Salford, John Cooper Clarke, brought poetry and comedy to punk audiences with high velocity machine gun lyrics and became one of the country’s true cult figure. His distinctive ground-breaking style inspired so many loudmouthed Mancunian copy-cats that even he now wishes he hadn’t bothered.

Stretford: Connecting Salford to Trafford side of south Manchester is Stretford. A Mecca for many Manchester music fans, 384 Kings Road, was the childhood home of Steven Patrick Morrissey. It was here in his bedroom, crying and wanking, that Morrissey honed his lyrical art on subject matter as profound as missing the bus, having to do his homework when he didn’t want to, burning his last crumpet and cutting his fingernails too short. Life’s a bitch. And so is Morrissey. The previous owner would allow fans a guided tour of the house. We contacted the current owners to see if this was possible but we were told, “It’s not their home, it’s my house and you’re welcome no more”. It was the tough streets of Stretford that bullied Morrissey into the middle-aged mard arse he is today. But newcomers to the city maybe surprised to find Stretford isn’t really all that bad. Had he grown  up on the Moss Side end of Kings Road, Morrissey would surely have topped himself before he hit puberty.

Timperly: Heading deeper into Trafford we come to Timperly. Born in Warrington, swaggering chimpoid Ian Brown moved to Timperly as a young man and attended Altrincham Grammar School for Posh Boys. Threre he teamed up with organ grinder John Squire and co to form The Stone Roses. With his mumbling inaudible lyrics, their inability to perform live, the fact they only produced 45 minutes of decent music throughout their entire career and Ian’s morbid fetish for air hostesses hands means The Roses will quite rightly top many Best Bands in the World lists for years to come.

Also from Timperly were The Inspiring Frank Sidebottom and sidekick Little Frank, who despite their severe disabilities (Frank suffered from elephantitus and Little Frank was only one and a half feet tall) still achieved fame and a special place in the nation’s heart. Tragically, they both died on the same day! A statue is to be built in Timperly centre to commemorate the brave duo next year.

Stockport: If Salford is Manchester’s tough cousin, then Stockport is our cross-eyed cousin that keeps trying to kiss us. Home to the legendary Strawberry Studios – the Abbey Road of the North – session have been recorded by 10cc, The Buzzcocks, Joy Division, The Happy Mondays, John Cooper Clarke, The Smiths, The Stone Roses and even Sir Paul McCartney. However, despite the outstanding musical heritage, don’t go to Stockport!!

Burnage: Hastily leaving Stockport brings us to Burnage home of comedy musical duo the Gallagher Brothers. Their hilarious slapstick covers of the Beatles and T-Rex made Paul and Barry’s ‘To Me…To You’ album the smash hit of the 90s. Just as entertaining was their off stage rivalry with shandy-pants southern band Blur, who’s cartoon frontman Scrappy-Doo confronted the Gallagher Brothers at the Top of the Pops ‘Brit Pop Special’ in 1997, resulting in a huge Bugsy Malone style custard pie fight during which Charlatans keyboardist Rob Collins was crushed to death and presenter Andy Peters lost an arm.

Moss Side: Dubbed ‘Gunchester’ by the tabloids in the early 90s, back then the life expectancy of a Mancunian gang member was 21, which means there are a lot fewer of these moody party-poopers around than there could have been. Despite the overhanging intimidation of the gang culture many artists such as 808 State and MC Tunes, The Ruthless Rap Assassins and A Guy Called Gerald kept Moss Side as their creative base and the strong community worked hard to shake off its bad reputation. Yet this positive example of the Mancunian Spirit has since become lost in the sulky murk of UK Hip Hop and now everyone round here talks like Plan B for some fucking reason.

Hulme: 6th January 1979 and photographer Kevin Cummins captures several shots of the band Joy Division as they try and talk frontman Ian Curtis out of throwing himself off the Hulme bridge. After eight long hours Steven Morris managed to coax Curtis down with a packet of Rolos. Unfortunately the Rolos eventually ran out and Ian Curtis hung himself the following year but the shot went on to become one of the defining images of that chapter of Manchester music.

Hulme was also home to the notorious Bull Ring flat blocks. Demolished a decade ago the doomed slums  were owned by ruthless Mancunian landlords The Bee Gees. The billionaire disco ghosts bought up vast areas of land in the Manchester for cheap in the 1970s. They still keep their tenants trapped in squalid stinking poverty hassling them for rent from beyond the grave.

Manchester: The Twisted Wheel, The Electric Circus, The International One, Jilly’s, The Hacienda. the list of legendary Manchester night clubs and venues turned into flats or just flattened is the shame of the city. Now a fancy tea shop on Peter Street, the Free Trade Hall was the exact spot where the Manchester music revolution began. It was not only the venue where Dylan turned electric to the cries of ‘Judas’ and started a riot of his own in 1966, ten years later on 4 June 1976 The Buzzcocks invited the Sex Pistols to play the Lesser Free Trade Hall. All the events of the locations we’ve covered can be directly traced back to this one inspirational night. Everyone present at that gig embraced the raw energy and DIY attitude of the Sex Pistols performance and they all went on to become architects and aristocracy of the future of Manchester music. Thousands of Mancunian musicians and fans claim to have witnessed the gig yet only forty tickets were sold. The truth of who was actually there and who’s lying was investigated by David Nolen in his book ‘I Swear I Was There’ and the audience did prove to be a list of legends. Mick Hucknall, Cressa, M. People, Candy Flip, The Seahorses, John Shuttleworth, Crispy Ambulance, Beady Eye, Solstis, Embrace, Northern Uproar, Gary Barlow and David Jones from The Monkeys all went on to produce music so bad they made Sid Vicious sound like he could actually play.

So now we’ve come a full circle (missing out Droylsden, Wythenshawe and Oldham and quite a few other places you really wouldn’t want to go to, believe me). Night has fallen and you’re ready for a drink so why not head to one of the many overpriced charmless bars where a student from London is probably the DJ. You drink heavily as the audioly patronises you with his set of plinky plonky minimalist electro of no distinctive origin mixed with ironic 80s singalong shite. Depressed, you stagger vomitting into Piccadilly shaking your fist at the passing trams cursing. You sit at a bus stop to rest a while and soak up the atmosphere and wake up two hours later to find someone’s stolen your shoes. So you decide to call it a day and wrap up your evening in true Mancunian style by driving a stolen motorbike into a group of doormen for not allowing you into one of the city’s many shite clubs.

For a personal two hour guided tour with Matthew please bring your own umbrella and a £50. Price includes a drink of Best bitter, a meal somewhere and a dayrider bus ticket.

Born in Southern California, Matthew Duffy aka Thick Richard was diagnosed at birth with arpats, a rare skin condition meaning he suffers a deadly allergic reaction to sunlight. Following medical advice his family moved to Manchester where Matthew has been able to live a perfectly normal life beneath the impenetrable black thunder cloud that covers the city. He studied music snobbery at the Royal Northern College of Music for four years while working as an aloof and fickle store manager for Fat City Records. He now spends most of his time sat outside Chorlton ‘restaurants’ talking loudly about how much better ecstasy was twenty years ago.


Kraak Club the Best Refuge for Free Spirits…

On the rare occasions when I’m not playing the card game Shithead and I fancy a stroll out into the vulgar world of fun, the place I like to frequent chat, drink, smoke rollie fags and dance is the converted textile building-cum-club called Kraak. Don’t be fooled by hip high handwritten whiteboard with the word KRAAK and an arrow underneath pointing to a brick alley behind the Police Museum of Stevenson Square that this is a double-bluff public crack den, it is of course Manchester’s most authentic city centre hangout for people who’ve fallen through the cracks of society. It took its name from the Dutch word to crack something open. In a city succumbing to regenerationitis where the Cornerhouse is moving to become a multiplex on the newly unveiled First Street opposite the Hacienda apartments, club owners Jayne Compton and Dom O’Grady keep the lone flag flying across the city for D-I-Y independent unbranded good times.

In the last two years avant-garde hungry audiences have made their way down the crack in the alley, up the stairs and through the doors into the two hundred capacity main space to see the likes of JD Samson’s band MEN, Demdike Stare, Mark Fell, DJ Boogie Blind, David Hoyle, Womb and regular Filmonik screenings to name but the tip of the iceberg. The space has also become a staple for local and national cool-hunters to launch their albums and magazines, plus individual hedonists celebrate birthdays while the more adventurous of the city’s organizations encourage staff to let their hair down longer and wilder in its anything goes late curfew atmosphere.

Jayne showed me the up and coming gigs on her iPhone Google calendar and said, ‘We’re pretty much booked every Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the next few months.’ She reeled off a few names, ‘There’s Wet Play presents Magic Touch, Jan Krueger, Manatees and Wode, Black Bee Soul Club, MCR Scenewipe, Richard Youngs and Dylan Carlson.’ She added that the venue’s draw to both artist and audience has made the place a creative hub and art scene.

She’s right of course, artists are the lifeblood to any event space and so are the piss-artists who watch them. And Kraak likes to treat them in equal measure. The cheap honed-down choice of drinks in a stand-alone fridge that wouldn’t look out of place in a house is ideal for the addled mind. A round of five black sambucas costs between 8 and 13ish quid depending on who serves you. I’d recommend you ask for The Doctor for the former price or muso-extraordinaire Magic Arm, who’s second album Images Rolling is about to be released, for the latter. Or is it the other way round? Either way the staff’s friendly uber-laid back chatty devil-may-care service style is endemic to the place. The latest addition to the team is a state-of-the-art blue Kentucky mop and bucket with detachable ringer so different mop heads can be attached a la Wurzel Gummage depending on which part of the club is being cleaned.  ‘Toilets are the pulse of any club so they’ve got to be regularly cleaned with the right tool for the job,’ added Jayne.

*Please Drink Reprehensibly*

Nikki Wordsmith flumps around the city in a big wooly hat looking for people and places and things to write about.


The Lovely Eggs – Sponsored by Greggs

Roadhouse. Manchester, Lancaster, The Lovely Eggs Dave Holly, BBC, musicIt’s now fourteen hours since I’ve seen married mop top couple Holly Ross and Dave Blackwell and The Unborn Bump perform at the Roadhouse, Manchester and I’m still up and I’m sure everyone else who was the gig has hit the hay. Just had a text from my gig-going partner in crime Bunny who told me they are faux-naive in their musical style. (Think that’s a posh way of saying they sound reet northern but are actually quite clever.) Three punks were in the mosh pit area backed up by old indie-heads. Things are still all well with the world when I see at least one punk and it was a good job they were there. Initially they danced like Morris pole people to Bad Grammar (the support band) but when The Lovely Eggs bulleted out the opening lines of Wildlife ‘there are five flies in this yard there are eighteen flies in this yard there are forty-nine flies in this yard’ a loose kind of hell broke through the crowd led by none other than the punks. It was nice to see and even better to feel. I saw the Eggs a while a go with my friend Lowri at a tea and cake do downstairs at Ruby Lounge run by Clint Boon’s missus. That was plain odd. It’s not every day you see the former Angelica front-woman and all her punk feminist shenanigans playing to the mother and baby crowd. But that’s somehow perfect too don’t you think? They also did a cameo as part of the Twin Peaks night at Islington Mill in 2009 as James and Donna but a lot has changed since then. In another parallel pop universe they had had a string of No 1 hits with Have You Ever Heard A Digital Accordion?, People Are Twats and the new Lancaster and Manchester national anthem Fuck It. In reality each album release new finds them little armies of fans including a guest apprearance by John Shuttleworth as the man with a sausage roll thumb in the vid for Don’t Look At Me I Don’t Like It.

The Lovely Eggs, Manchester Roadhouse, Holly, MusicWith their latest and third album Wildlife something is stirring. Everytime I turn 6Music on one of their songs seems to be on and lots of people I know from all different walks of life keep asking me if I’ve heard of The Lovely Eggs? Songs on their youtube hits regularly get into five figures and along with the John Shuttleworth patronage they’re reaching that status that other more fickle people than myself might accuse them of: Being Professional Northeners. You know the kind, Mark and Lard, Sara Cox, Liz and Andy Kershaw, Vernon Kaye and that other woman with blonde hair who’s name I can’t remember but is a stand up comedian with a deep voice and I think she’s called Jenny Eclair. Anyway you know the type I mean. There are loads more. And Jenny Eclair has the brilliant line that no-one with a northern mum can get depressed. That is what seeing The Lovely Eggs is like. The music is top. But their ace up their sleeve is lyrically and live they are a bloody good laugh and have not forgot the best part of having a sense of humour is to take the piss out of yourself. They happily fuck up songs. Laugh off missing verses. Have a great in-joke for all women in music with the song Dave’s Turn and at one point in between songs Holly patted the bump protruding from her stomach saying ‘sponsored by Greggs’. But best parting shot of night for me was going up to the merch stall and seeing a hand-written sign in big black marker which outlined the words that said: Shit Fer Sale.

 The Lovely Eggs are on tour now.

Nikki Wordsmith bumbled about in her big wooly hat with Bunny and some punks and had rather a lovely time.


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